Martin Ritt

About Martin Ritt

Who is it?: Film Director
Birth Day: March 02, 1914
Birth Place: New York City, New York, U.S., United States
Died On: December 8, 1990(1990-12-08) (aged 76)\nSanta Monica, California, U.S.
Birth Sign: Aries
Cause of death: Heart disease
Years active: 1950-1990
Spouse(s): Adele Ritt (?-1990) (his death)
Children: Martina Ritt Werner Michael Ritt

Martin Ritt Net Worth

Martin Ritt was bornon March 02, 1914 in New York City, New York, U.S., United States, is Film Director. Martin Ritt was an American director, producer and actor associated with both theatres and films. He is however most noted for his films that were themed on social consciousness and narrated the life of the oppressed and downtrodden. The protagonists of his films were characteristically dark-horses or loners whose ethical values often put them into precarious situations considering the society’s dubious values. Ritt started his career as a stage actor with ‘Federal Theatre Project’ and then with ‘Theatre of Action’. He also worked with Lee Strasberg's famous ‘Group Theatre’. The 1940s saw him getting success in directing plays such as ‘Set My People Free’ and ‘The Big People’. He then changed gears and entered TV in the late 1940s and for the next few years acted in around 150 teleplays apart from directing over 100 shows. While the Great Depression was in full swing Ritt like many other theatre personalities became highly motivated by the leftist ideals and principles. Although never a member of the ‘Communist Party’, his leftist perspective made him a target of Senator Joseph McCarthy, which resulted in his ouster from the ‘CBS’. Thereafter he resumed his association with the ‘Group Theater’ and also endeavoured into directing feature films. Starting with ‘Edge of The City’, he made some remarkable films over the next three decades cementing his position as one of the prominent filmmakers of those times. Some of his highly successful and widely acclaimed films were ‘Norma Rae’, ‘The Long, Hot Summer’, ‘Sounder’, ‘Hud’, ‘Hombre’, ‘The Great White Hope’, ‘Murphy's Romance’, ‘The Molly Maguires’ and ‘Stanley & Iris’.
Martin Ritt is a member of Theater Personalities

💰 Net worth: $17 Million

Some Martin Ritt images

Biography/Timeline

1939

Counterattack alleged that Ritt had helped Communist Party-affiliated locals of the New York-based Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union stage their annual show. Also cited was a show he had directed for Russian War Relief at Madison Square Garden. His associations with the Group Theater, founded on a Russian model, and the Federal Theater Project (which Congress had stopped funding in 1939 because of what some anti-New Deal congressmen claimed to be a left-wing political tone to some productions), were also known to HUAC. He was finally blacklisted by the television industry when a Syracuse grocer charged him with donating money to Communist China in 1951. He supported himself for five years by teaching at the Actors Studio.

1952

In 1952, Ritt was acting, directing, and producing teleplays and television programs when he was caught up by the Red Scare and investigations of communist influence in Hollywood and the movie industry. Although not directly named by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), Ritt was mentioned in an anti-communist newsletter called Counterattack, published by American Business Consultants, a group formed by three former FBI agents.

1956

Unable to work in the television industry, Ritt returned to the theater for several years. By 1956, the Red Scare had decreased in intensity, and he turned to film directing. His first film as Director was Edge of the City (1957), an important film for Ritt and an opportunity to give voice to his experiences. Based on the story of a union dock worker who faces intimidation by a corrupt boss, the film incorporates many themes that were to influence Ritt over the years: corruption, racism, intimidation of the individual by the group, defense of the individual against government oppression, and most notably, the redeeming quality of mercy and the value of shielding others from evil, even at the cost of sacrificing one's own reputation, career, or life.

1958

Some of the movies he directed include The Long, Hot Summer (1958), The Black Orchid (1958), Paris Blues (1961), Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962), Hud (1963), The Outrage (1964), The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965), Hombre (1967), The Great White Hope (1970), Sounder (1972), Conrack (1974), Norma Rae (1979), Cross Creek (1983), Murphy's Romance (1985), Nuts (1987) and Stanley & Iris (1990).

1964

Ritt's 1964 film The Outrage, is an American retelling of the Kurosawa film Rashomon, and stars Laurence Harvey, Paul Newman, Claire Bloom, Edward G. Robinson, Howard Da Silva, and william Shatner. Like Kurosawa's film, Ritt employs flashbacks in his film. Paul Newman was fond of this role. He traveled to Mexico and spent time speaking to local residents to study the accents. Newman liked that the film's narrative included different points of view.

1970

Ritt and Newman worked together on four other movies, Paris Blues, The Long, Hot Summer, Hud and Hombre. In the 1970s, Ritt won acclaim for movies like The Great White Hope (earning Oscar nominations for James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander), Sounder, Conrack (from Pat Conroy's autobiographical novel), and Norma Rae (Oscar for Sally Field as Best Actress).

1976

In 1976, Ritt made one of the first dramatic feature films about the blacklist, The Front, starring Woody Allen. The Front satirizes the use of 'fronts,' men and women who (either as a personal favor or in exchange for payment) allowed their names to be listed as Writers for scripts actually authored by blacklisted Writers. The film was based on the experiences of, and written by, one of Ritt's closest friends, Screenwriter Walter Bernstein, who was blacklisted for eight years beginning in 1950.

1987

In 1987, Ritt again utilized extensive flashback and nonlinear storytelling techniques in the film Nuts, based on the stage play of the same name, written by Tom Topor. The film was considered a box office disappointment in relation to its budget, although it did not actually lose money.

1990

Ritt died at age 76 in Santa Monica, California on December 8, 1990. The cause of death was heart disease. He was survived by his wife Adele; a daughter, film Producer Martina Wernerand; and a son, Michael.

2019

Ritt moved on from the WPA to the Theater of Arts, then to the Group Theater of New York City. It was at the Group Theater that he met Elia Kazan. Kazan cast Ritt as an understudy to his play Golden Boy. Ritt’s social consciousness and political views continued to mature during his time with the Group Theater, and would influence the social and political viewpoint that he would later express in his films. (Ritt would continue his association with Kazan for well over a decade, later assisting - and sometimes filling in for - his erstwhile mentor at The Actors Studio, eventually becoming one of the Studio's few non-performing life members.)